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Increasing our efficiency as a regulator and reducing the regulatory burden are both critically important and have been key commitments of the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC).
We are pleased to share we have achieved a 48 per cent reduction in regulatory requirements set out in our rules, exceeding the government of Alberta and Department of Energy’s red tape reduction target to reduce mandatory requirements by one-third.
Recently the AUC has made extensive efforts to increase efficiencies, having moved forward with a series of initiatives to adopt the recommendations for assertive case management, streamline application process timelines and identifying and implementing other processes improvements. These results demonstrate how the AUC has moved aggressively to meet the challenge of being one of the fastest and most effective regulators in North America.
“Since coming in as chair at the AUC, I have focused as much time and energy on red tape reduction and ongoing improvements in regulatory efficiency as I have on adjudicating cases. It has been a pleasure to work with the team at the AUC as well as industry and stakeholders to get us to this point.” – Carolyn Dahl Rees, AUC Chair
The government of Alberta introduced the Red Tape Reduction Act in 2019 to reduce the regulatory burden across government departments and agencies, and improve regulatory efficiency in the province. As a government agency the AUC forms part of this commitment and the AUC has been reviewing its rules in order to reduce the mandatory regulatory requirements they contain. The legislation directed the AUC to reduce the requirements found in its 34 rules by one-third by 2023. The AUC reports to the Department of Energy monthly on the progress of efficiency initiatives and the required red tape reductions. This important reporting is overseen by the AUC’s executive leadership and its general counsel.
“Exceeding a one-third reduction is an exceptional feat we have all worked towards as an organization and it could not be achieved without the hard work of our employees. This is simply an outstanding result.” – Bob Heggie, AUC Chief Executive
The AUC operates on the basis that there is ample opportunity to do things better and to reduce the regulatory burden for its regulated entities and stakeholders. Efficiency, timeliness and reducing regulatory lag make up a key pillar of the AUC’s 2021-2024 strategic plan, and the commitment to continuous improvement applies to all aspects of our work.
Reducing regulatory burden has resulted in cost and time savings and other benefits for stakeholders, industry and the AUC.
An important consideration of the AUC’s efficiency improvements in the regulation of monopoly electricity and natural gas infrastructure, and the adjudication of market cases, is that efficiency mustn’t come at the expense of stakeholder and investor confidence in a fair process, market integrity, or reliably independent and consistent regulation. All are critical to a properly functioning utilities sector.
Looking forward, the AUC is continuing to increase efficiency by implementing process improvements recommended by outside experts, develop performance standards to further reduce full-cycle timelines, utilize mediated settlements, and update additional rules to further reduce regulatory burden. The AUC is encouraged that its detailed, results-driven efforts have contributed to the government’s plan to support jobs and boost productivity.